Signed into law in 2007, Florida’s audit law is not binding on official results, does not lead to a full recount, and audits only one randomly-selected election contest, selected separately in each county. No contest with boundaries greater than a county-wide contest can be effectively audited. In 2013 the audit law was amended to provide, in addition to a manual audit, the option of an “automated independent audit.” Florida’s audit provisions can be found in Florida Stat. Ann. §101.591 while audit procedures are detailed in Fla. Admin. Code R. 1S-5.026 .
Unless otherwise specified, statutory references are to Florida Stat. Ann. §101.591.
Voting Systems Used
Florida primarily uses hand marked paper ballots and optical scanners in polling places, with ballot marking devices for accessibility. For the most up to date information please visit Verified Voting’s Verifier.
For an explanation on the types of voting equipment used, click here.
Both manual and automated audits cover election-day, vote-by-mail, early voting, provisional, and overseas ballots.
The canvassing board shall post a notice of the audit, including the date, time, and place, in four conspicuous places in the county and on the home page of the county supervisor of elections website. The results must be made public by the 7th day after certification of the election. Also, the county canvassing board is required to produce a detailed report within 15 days after completion of the audit.
Audit Counting Method
The audit is either a manual audit or an “automated, independent audit.” (Fla. Admin. Code R. 1S-5.026 makes clear that an automated audit entails rescanning the ballots, not using the county voting system’s tabulation devices.)
Type Of Audit Units
The audit units are precincts: for a manual audit, at least 1% but not more than 2% of precincts, and for an automated audit, at least 20% of the precincts.
Contests & Issues Audited
One randomly selected election contest is to be chosen for the audit. Each county conducts their random selection separately, however, so counties may audit different contests.
Local election officials are to submit a report of the audit results and any discrepancies to the Department of State, including “recommended corrective action with respect to avoiding or mitigating such circumstances in future elections.” However, no further action based on the audit results or discrepancies is required by statute.
For recount laws, see Citizens for Election Integrity Minnesota website.
The audit must be completed and the results made public no later than 11:59 p.m. on the seventh (7th) day following certification of the election by the county canvassing board or the local board responsible for certifying the election. (We consider this timing “before results are finalized” because results can change after certification.) The county canvassing board then produces a report within fifteen (15) days after completion of the audit and details the required contents of the report.
Binding On Official Outcomes
Florida’s statutes do not state that the audit results shall amend or in any way affect the official results.
Oversight & Conduct
The audit is conducted by the county canvassing board or local board, and audit results are reported to the Department of State. The random selection is conducted at the local level.
Each county election supervisor must file a security plan with the FL Division of Elections, which is to be reviewed biennially. The security plan must include procedures for ballot chain of custody and security of voting systems, including verification that ballot containers with voted ballots are properly secured and accounted for. See, Fla. Stat. Ann. §101.015 and Florida Administrative Code 1S-2.015.
Additional Targeted Samples
Statute does not provide for targeted samples.